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Christchurch, New Zealand | Member Since 2005

  • 8 reviews
  • 56 ratings
  • 286 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015

  • A Clash of Kings (Part One): Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice

    This is Part One of Book 2 of the A Song of Ice and Fire Series. George R. R. Martin’s superb fantasy epic continues in consummate style as bloodshed and alchemy lay waste the Seven Kingdoms. This second volume of A Song of Ice and Fire is unabridged and split into two parts. The Iron Throne once united the Sunset Lands, but King Robert is dead, his widow is a traitor to his memory, and his surviving brothers are set on a path of war amongst themselves.

    Michael says: "If you are up to this, you are hooked"
    "Lots of it, but not a lot to like"

    The Story
    There are two or three great characters in these books - Tyrian the Imp for example - but the brief contacts we have with them are interposed with swathes of long winded faux medieval pageantry of one kind or another.

    Remember "Sir Brentin Waythorpe of house Moon" ? No, well don't worry because even though we'll spend a few paragraphs describing his flags, mail and family tree, he'll have no role in the story and will never be heard of again. It's as if you've paused a scene in a movie and got someone to describe all the extras in massive detail. At times this feels like the kind of literature you should buy by the kilogram, not the book!

    The other big problem I personally have is the constant brutality dished out by the many random "Sir Knights" - A three year old has "his face smashed in by a morning star" before a similar fate meets his wailing mother. This delightful interlude adds NOTHING to the plot or character of those involved - we already know they're treasonous adulterous baddies! The book is flush with these little treats, often involving children, and it is not an educational publication about the horrors of war, it's an airport fantasy novel.

    The Narration
    Everyone who is not a "high born" character is voiced as a semi retarded yokel - this gets really jarring after a very short time.

    Only if you've got a really long flight and don't mind a lot of meaningless brutality thrown in with your fantasy fluff.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Fear the Sky: The Fear Saga, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Stephen Moss
    • Narrated By R.C. Bray

    From the Audie-nominated narrator of The Martian. In eleven years' time, a million members of an alien race will arrive at Earth. Years before they enter orbit, their approach will be announced by the flare of a thousand flames in the sky, their ships' huge engines burning hard to slow them from the vast speeds needed to cross interstellar space. These foreboding lights will shine in our night sky like new stars, getting ever brighter until they outshine even the sun, casting ominous shadows and banishing the night until they suddenly blink out.

    Teresa says: "I Loved This Book"
    "Missed Opportunity"

    The book begins well with a compelling first movement and good character development. As the plot becomes more complex and multilayered things rapidly deteriorate into a fairly tedious army porn genre along the usual lines - "The resolute captain watched as the Hell Cat missiles were loaded onto the titanium mounts on the sleek undercarriage of the $5 billion XK356 jet ... blah blah blah"

    The characters are completely lost under the weight of military detail.

    Narration is superb and you should listen to The Martian immediately.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Men at Arms: Discworld, Book 15

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Nigel Planer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The town of Ankh-Morpork is in big trouble, and the City Watch is desperate for a few good men to protect it. But all they've got are the dwarves Corporal Carrot and Lance-constable Cuddy; the troll Lance-constable Detritus; Lance-constable Angua, who is believed to be a woman; and, worst of all, Corporal Nobbs, who has been disqualified from the human race for shoving! These underdogs need all the help they can get, for they've been given only 24 hours to clean up the war-torn town.

    Christian says: "Great Story - Terrible Production!"
    "Great Story - Terrible Production!"

    For the Pratchett fan - especially the City Watch books - this is another great story. It's the second Nigel Planer narration I've heard and I'm just not a huge fan. He's fine, but he's not Stephen Briggs and he has a tendency to voice many of his characters in a way that makes them sound a bit slow and dim witted.

    I must endorse the comments of a previous reviewer that the production quality is truly awful - terrible sound quality and frequent jump cuts / continuity errors. It's bad enough I think Audible should clean it up or put it on permanent deep discount.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Redeemer: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    One freezing night in Oslo Christmas shoppers gather to listen to a Salvation Army street concert. An explosion cuts through the music, and a man in uniform falls to the ground, shot in the head at point-blank range.Harry Hole and his team have little to work with: no immediate suspect, no weapon and no motive. But when the assassin discovers he has shot the wrong man, Harry Hole’s troubles have only just begun.

    Lia says: "Another Good Jo Nesbo Book"
    "Recommended without reservation"

    I'm obviously behind the times, but have just discovered Jo Nesbo. Beautifully written, really well plotted and excellent character development. It's Norwegian setting and general tone make comparison with Steig Larson inevitable - not as original a series as the Millennium trilogy, but overall perhaps a better edited one ?

    Sean Barrett' narration is superb. The delivery of different characters is subtle and consistent throughout the recording.

    No negatives really - buy it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Symbol

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object is discovered in the Capitol Building. The object is an ancient invitation, meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. And when Langdon's mentor is kidnapped, Langdon's only hope of saving him is to accept this invitation and follow wherever it leads him.

    tess says: "Very typical of Dan Brown. Easy brilliance."
    "16 hours you'll never get back ..."

    I enjoy some good old airport fiction as much as the next person, but there is a limit. The characters are one dimensional - which is fine - the plot however is tissue paper thin, and this is a problem for a book that is entirely plot driven!

    We stumble from one poorly realised "revelation" to another under an avalanche of portentous prose that completely fails to deliver anything like excitement or tension.

    The narrator does an heroic job, but there are only so many times you can say "the ancient mysteries" and "the wisdom of the ages" before you sound like you're taking the mick. So run don't walk and look elsewhere!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Saul Reichlin

    Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a member of his own family. He employs journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history.

    Joe says: "worthwhile"
    "Did this ever go to an editor ??"

    This is an enjoyable read, and the narrator is fantastic.
    The book is charmingly Scandinavian - lots of snow, endless coffee, and liberal socialist attitudes - but boy could it do with some decent editorial input! The pointless back stories about completely irrelevant characters, the family trees tediously detailed... there would have been a lot of skimming in hard copy.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Rendezvous with Rama

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence.

    Peter Tersteeg says: "Excellent story, terrible naration"
    "Quality Will Out"

    Fantastic novel from a master of the genre. Read this book many years ago, and great to revisit it now. The opposite of a "space opera" this is real ideas/concepts based sci-fi - the characters are entirely dispensable!
    A measure of the quality of the story is its four star rating despite the terrible narration. Imagine someone impersonating Mr Sulu (George Takai (sp?) ) and you've got it - then imagine that person putting on an Australian accent for the protagonist - what were they thinking!!
    If you can handle Mr Sulu, buy it ASAP...

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Robert Stanek

    After the Great War that divided the peoples, the kingdoms of men plunged into a Dark Age that lasted 500 years. To heal the lands and restore the light, the great kings decreed that magic and all that is magical, be it creature, man, or device, shall be cleansed to dust. The cleansing raged for so long that no human could recall a time without it and it is in this time that the Dark Lord Sathar returned from the dark beyond.

    Will says: "Excellent -- one of the best!"
    "Formula Fiction"

    A shocker. Paint by numbers fantasy characters and possibly the worst reading I've heard on audible. The cringeworthy voices of female characters makes me shudder just recalling it.
    I'll be giving the next volumes a wide berth.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful

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